Pretty sure I read somewhere that the Nats had the second-most regular-season wins in MLB from 2012 to 2015. Assuming that’s true, which I think it is, that’s pretty good.
I mean, the whole part about not winning a playoff series over that span is pretty rough, but 91 wins per year is not bad! How’d they do that?
The easy answer is with a) top-shelf pitching and b) upper-middle-tier hitting. Have a look:
Nats batting (as measured by runs per game)
2012: 10th (4.51)
2013: 15th (4.05)
2014: 9th (4.23)
2015: 10th (4.34)
2012-15 average: 11th (4.28)
Nats pitching (as measured by ERA)
2012: 2nd (3.33)
2013: 8th (3.59)
2014: 1st (3.03)
2015: 7th (3.62)
2012-15: 4.5th (3.39)
There you go — 11th in batting and fourth or fifth in pitching over the duration. That’ll do it.
So how’s it going this year? The Nats are 15th in batting (or scoring, whatever) with 4.32 runs/game and second in ERA at 2.86. They’re on pace to win 99 goddamn games.
This year’s lineup figures to improve a bit from the early going, but I’d be surprised if they jumped into the top 10. The pitching may regress, but, barring injury, they look like a top-five fixture.
It’s a familiar formula.